Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Illinois Senate passes bill preserving press rights to photograph high-school sports

The Illinois Press Association and the Illinois High School Association have fought for months over who has the right to shoot — and sell — photographs at high school athletic competitions. As part of a deal with Visual Image Photography Inc. of Cedarburg, Wisc., the IHSA has barred newspaper photographers to preserve the commercial company's "exclusive rights" to images from high school events. The Illinois Senate, however, is stepping in to protect the rights of the press, reports the National Press Photographers Association.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate voted 47-5 in favor of bill that would stop the IHSA "from regulating the use of news photographs and the media's access to public high school competitions," NPPA reports. "An identical bill is pending in the state's House of Representatives."

The IPA, which has sued the IHSA several times over the past few months for its attempts to keep newspapers from championship events, helped draft the legislation. "The IHSA should not be able to monopolize photography" of high school sports, said Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. James A. DeLeo (D-Chicago). "That should be open to anybody."(Read more) For our past coverage of the controversy, and similar disputes in other states, go here.

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